3 Best Online Payroll Software Options


Want to jump straight to the answer?


The best online payroll software option for most Small to Medium Enterprises in South Africa is SimplePay, and here’s why.


When it comes to any payroll software, the key requirements are unparalleled accuracy, country specific tax and labour law compliance, integration and reporting, as well as strong technical support. Businesses need to select a payroll software that ensures full compliance with the taxman.


At the beginning of 2019, only 39% of global companies used cloud-based payroll solutions and just 21% of companies were actively evaluating moving payroll to the cloud, according to Deloitte.

And then came 2020 and the novel coronavirus.


We now share less office space with our colleagues and work in “teams” by switching over to a video call. We have managed to operate remotely without the world coming to an end, and our payroll software should undoubtedly migrate online as well.


Most online payroll software offers similar features, including a 30-day free trial period and a 10% discount for annual subscriptions. That’s why finding the best payroll software for your business can be difficult.


What makes one payroll system better than another?


As someone who has managed multiple companies’ payrolls and have processed more than 20,000 payslips, I know what it takes to ensure a smooth pay run and how to assess which online payroll software will benefit your business most.


Whether you have 5 or 50 employees or are looking to move online for the first time, this guide aims to help you find the best online payroll service for your needs.


Top 3 online payroll software options


1. SimplePay – Best one-stop shop for SME’s

2. Sage Business Cloud Payroll – Best for companies with larger payrolls, multiple monthly pay dates, and best online support

3. Xero Pay Run – Best for start-ups and businesses that already have support from their small business accountant


1. SimplePay – Best one-stop shop for SME’s


SimplePay is just that, simple to use. It allows you to customise your income and deduction items and supports monthly, weekly, and fortnightly employees. It also integrates with Xero and

QuickBooks to easily process monthly payroll journals.


Save time by sending batch payslips by email or make use of online self-service, where your employees view their payslips, request leave and can edit their own information.


You can set up leave management workflow and assign individuals to review and approve leave applications via email notifications.


Monthly pricing is based on the number of employees and reduces significantly as the number of employees increase. It starts at R60.42 per payslip and drops to as little as R9.08 per payslip if you have 50 employees (refer to the monthly pricing comparison above).


As for tax, the first steps to submitting IRP5s, EMP501s, IT3(a), EMP201s & UIF declarations are simplified through the SimplePay filing section, although the actual submissions are still required via SARS efiling.


SimplePay software has automatic updates and automatically and securely backs up your information to the cloud. They also offer step by step guidance on the software and other legislative matters via their online blog and support.


2. Sage Business Cloud Payroll – Best for companies with large payrolls, multiple pay dates, and best online support


Sage is an industry leader in the online payroll software space.


For more than 20 years they have offered payroll software to JSE listed companies and small businesses alike (Sage VIP Payroll, formerly known as Softline VIP Payroll).


Their online payroll software offers unlimited companies and users. One of their core value propositions, is their strong support team and online assistance. They also offer full bolt on online HR management capabilities.


Sage Business Cloud Payroll integrates easily with other Sage software you may already be using, like Sage Accounting and Pastel Accounting. This integration will streamline the monthly payroll accounting process and save time.


Monthly pricing is based on the number of employees and reduces as the number of employees increase. It starts at R57 for 2 payslips, decreasing to R24 per payslip when opting for 20 employees.


This online payroll software is best for companies with larger payrolls or multiple pay frequencies like commission, wages, salaries, and performance incentives and offers single and consolidated payslip generation for each employee.

3. Xero Pay Run – Best for start-ups and businesses that already have support from their small business accountant


In this digital age, Xero cloud-based accounting software is power to any business.


Xero Pay Run (embedded in Xero accounting) is for companies with fewer staff members and an uncomplicated payroll that doesn’t change significantly from month to month. The automated payroll journals integrate seamlessly with Xero accounting, but it’s recommended that your setup should be done by your accountant and checked monthly for accuracy.


It’s not available as a standalone online payroll software and is not as comprehensive as the other two options. However, if your business already uses one of the Xero pricing plans for accounting (Starter, Standard, or Premium), this may be an efficient option to integrate with your exisiting monthly Xero accounting cycle.


Monthly pricing starts from around R164 per payslip (billed and converted from USD), and although this is not the cheapest alternative, it may be suitable for businesses with a smaller staff complement.


Moving from your existing payroll software to any online payroll software might require expert advice from Fusilier as there are complexities to deal with. Challenges usually include the timing of the migration (especially if it does not fall on the start of a new tax year), and exported data and employee files presented in a confusing array of text strings that are not readily importable to other payroll software.


In conclusion, all three of these options do everything you need for your online company payroll. The decision is up to your structure, monthly reporting requirements and staff setup.

Chartered Accountants